Welcome to Varsity Sports Network’s 2010 preseason Top 20 volleyball poll.  VSN ranks the top teams in the Baltimore region which covers public and private schools in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Cecil County, Harford County and Howard County.

1.  River Hill (17-3 last season)

Players to watch: Megan Rosburg, Sr., Outside hitter; Sarah Okey, Sr., Outside hitter; Carolyn Kleinberger, Sr., Setter/Outside Hitter; Caitlin Davis, Jr., Setter

Side out: Hawks lost in Class 3A state finals last fall, but return a strong core led by Rosburg and 6-3 Okey in hopes of returning to University of Maryland.

2.  Centennial (17-1)

Players to watch: Samantha Brostrom, Sr., Outside hitter; Liz Brown, Sr., Right hitter; May Yang, Sr., Middle hitter; Kaitlyn Brehm, Sr., Setter; Carly Simenauer, Sr., Libero

Side out: Eagles won Howard County and District V titles before falling to rival River Hill in East Region finals; return nine players including All-Mets Brostrom and Brown in hopes for state title.

3.  Mount de Sales Academy (22-1)

Players to watch:  Hannah Schmidt, Sr., Outside hitter; Caroline Casey, Jr., Middle hitter; Katie Delaney, Sr., Libero; Chelsea Owensby, So., Setter; Clare Stavely, Jr., Right hitter; Taylor Beaumont, Jr., Outside hitter

Side out: Sailors were area’s top-ranked team in 2009 and won the IAAM A Conference title; loss of All-Metro Player of the Year Katy Buck (Towson University) knocks them back a notch but Schmidt is ready to lead quest for repeat.

4.  Towson (17-1)

Players to watch: Kelly Lacy, Jr., Outside hitter; Lauren Bosse, Jr., Middle hitter; Talia Sharpiro, Sr., Libero; Ally Teuten, Jr., Setter

Side out: Generals expect another strong run at Baltimore County championship under coach Emily Berman; fell to River Hill in state 3A semifinals last season.

5.  Fallston (16-2)

Players to watch: Abby Claborn, Jr., Right hitter/Setter; Rachael Holehouse, Jr., Outside hitter; Emily Letke, Jr., Right hitter; Shannon Webb., Sr., Outside hitter

Side out: Cougars the team to beat in UCBAC and seeking another Class 2A Final Four berth under new coach Ali Winaker.

6.  South River (12-4)

Players to watch: Kristin Cooper, Sr., Middle hitter; Emily Cobb, Sr., Setter; Sami Moran, Sr., Libero; Kathryn Files, Jr., Middle hitter; Kira Carroll, Jr., Outside hitter

Side out: With nine returning seniors and strong bench, Seahawks gets early nod in Anne Arundel County title chase.

7.  Seton Keough (10-8)

Players to watch: Liz Brown, Sr., Outside hitter; Adama Aja, Sr., Middle hitter; Ijeoma Igwe, So., Outisde hitter; Rianna Wontrop, Sr., Middle hitter

Side out: Gators return nine players and four starters, including 6-4 Brown and 6-0 Aja at the net, seeking to challenge Mount de Sales for IAAM A supremacy.

8.  Arundel (11-5)

Players to watch: Ashlyn Tapley, Jr., Outside hitter; Lindsay Tapley, Jr., Right hitter/Setter;; Shannon Wilks, Jr., Libero; Hannah Rehak, Sr., Outside/Middle hitter; Brooke Sillaman, Sr., Setter

Side out: With strong core of returnees, Wildcats look to be a force in Anne Arundel County race.

9.  Mount Hebron (9-6)

Player to watch: Katie Huston, Sr., Middle hitter

Side out: Vikings return nine battle-proven seniors and should make strong run in very tough Howard County race.

10.  Severna Park (16-3)

Players to watch:  Carli Converse, Sr., Outside hitter; Erin Bell, Sr., Outside hitter; Katie Liccione, Sr., Libero; Megan Poskaitis, Sr., Right setter; Rachel Welsh, Sr., Middle hitter; Kim Bell, So., Setter

Side out: Loss of stars Christi Laite (graduation) and Sam Henke (shoulder injury) will hurt, but defending Anne Arundel County champ Falcons will be still a force for new coach Dave Verostic with captains Converse and Welsh leading an experienced group.

11.  Century (12-4)

Players to watch: Allie Reed, Sr., Setter; Abby Thrift, Jr., Outside hitter; Sam Straitz, Sr., Outside hitter; Jen Straitz, Sr., Right setter; Stephanie Whealton, Jr., Libero; Morgan Thomas, Jr., Middle hitter

Side out: Solid nucleus back for Knights, looking to claim Carroll County crown and make another run at Class 2A Final Four.

12.  Reservoir (13-4)

Players to watch: Victoria Edwards, Sr., Libero; Paige Calvert, Sr., Outside hitter; Chelsea Belts, Jr., Middle blocker

Side out: Gators should be a factor in extremely strong Howard County race.

13.  Dulaney (10-6)

Players to watch: Jess Starr, So., Outside hitter; Taylor Roberts, Jr., Setter; Elsa Manning, Sr., Outside hitter

Side out: Young cast of returnees should have Lions in the middle of Baltimore County title chase.

 14.  Broadneck (19-2)

Players to watch: Adrienne Gebele, Sr., Outside hitter; Alli Graf, Jr., Setter

Side out: Bruins will be young as they seek fourth straight Class 4A championship.

15.  McDonogh School (8-10)

Players to watch:  Taryn Durant, Sr., Outside hitter/Setter/Middle blocker; Jessica Eisenberg, So., Outside hitter; Erica Johnson, Sr., Outside hitter; Nancy Holt, Jr., Middle blocker; Gen Eby, Jr., Outside hitter

Side out: With five returning starters, including IAAM A all-star Durant and all-purpose Eisenberg, the Eagles look to step up in tough league.

16.  Liberty (9-7)

Players to watch: Kelsey Middleton, Jr., Right hitter; Kelly McCormick, Sr., Middle hitter

Side out: Coach Bryan Trumbo is hoping Lions are ready overtake Century (coached by Trumbo’s sister Becky) in Carroll County race.

17.  Archbishop Spalding (12-6)

Players to watch: Nikki Hurley, Sr., Libero; Ally Groff, Sr., Outside hitter; Maura Henry, Sr., Outside hitter; Jamie Rombach, Jr., Setter/Middle hitter; Kristen Seeba, So., Outside hitter/Setter; Jordan Lawson, Jr., Outside hitter

Side out: Strong core of returning players give Cavaliers hopes of a promising season in IAAM A.

18.  St. Paul’s School (10-6)

Players to watch: Hailey Fitzgerald, Jr.,  Setter; Sarah Bowman, Jr., Libero; Alissa Bennett, Sr., Outside hitter; Katherine Gill, Sr., Middle hitter; Kabria Haskins, Jr., Middle hitter

Side out: Gators should be a factor in IAAM A with All-Conference performers Fitzgerald and Bowman back.

19.  John Carroll (16-4)

Players to watch: Jenny Hottle, Sr., Middle hitter; Taylor Schafer,  Sr., Outside hitter; Nicole Wagner, Sr., Outside hitter; Elise Adamson, Sr., Outside hitter; Alissa Buettner, Jr., Setter; Briana Lockhart, Fr., Setter.

Side out: Strong core of seniors have Patriots in position for second straight IAAM B Conference title.

20.  Patterson Mill (18-2)

Players to watch: Rachel Jirsa, Sr., Libero; Sarina Mossa, Sr., Outside hitter; Megan Gileza, Sr., Setter; Lauren Cappellini, Sr., Right hitter; Angela Zalesak, Jr., Setter/Outside hitter

Side out: Despite loss of key several players, Huskies look to make return trip to Class 1A state semifinals.